Fall is upon us, and students have or will soon return to their campuses, classrooms, and computers. If you’ve ever considered a career in the cannabis industry, now is the perfect time to start your cannabis training. There is a constant demand for a wide range of positions, and you just may find that you’re a perfect fit. The fact that you’re reading this article indicates that at the very least you’re considering a career in the cannabis space. You’ve come to the right place, because earning certification from the Cannabis Training University (CTU) is an important first step toward landing your dream job.
In today’s increasingly competitive cannabis industry, getting certified for a specialized job skill is not only advantageous, it’s almost necessary. You need to gain an advantage over other people who are anxious to land a cannabis job. The competition can be fierce, and you want your resume to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, CTU is here to guide and train you in every aspect of the industry you will need for success at your new job. Whether it’s a job in cultivation, dispensary sales, or concentrates extraction, CTU will provide you with insights, information, and cannabis training that will make you a worthier candidate than other job seekers. Completing the training course sets you apart as a known quantity who requires less specialized training. You come into the job with proven pre-existing knowledge from the cannabis certification you received.
Are You a Good Fit?
One of the first things you should do if you’re curious about gaining employment with a cannabis company is consider if it’s the right type of job for you. In both large and small companies in this market, people can come and go at a rapid rate—largely because some people have unrealistic ideas about what a cannabis job entails. However, those who stick around and put in hard work have a bright future ahead of them if they have a strong work ethic.
The allure of these jobs is obvious. For those who are passionate about cannabis, the attraction is huge. In the not-so-distant past, the idea of legal cannabis and someday working for a company that produces, sells, and/or promotes it was just a wishful pipe dream. As attractive as these jobs appear, and often are, make no mistake that succeeding at a cannabis job involves putting in the time; in that respect, it’s no different from working in any other industry.
The successful cannabis companies that grow and have staying power develop a corporate structure, with specialized departments in marketing, communications, compliance, administration, legal, accounting, merchandising, human resources, and several other areas. Many of the people in these specialized niche jobs came from other industries where they had a successful track record. These corporate jobs feed the nuts and bolts of the business operations like cultivation, retail, concentrates extraction, and edibles production. These are the fields in which the vast majority of people enter the industry, and the roles these people play in their daily jobs are vital to a company’s success and growth.
An entry-level job in the cannabis industry is anything but bong hits and giggles. Contrary to public opinion, the vast majority of cannabis jobs do not involve getting high and kicking back. The work is demanding and the days are long. Those without previous experience working in the industry will usually start out in an entry-level position in one of three specific areas: retail, cultivation, and extracts manufacturing. (Certain specialized roles like packagers usually work in cultivation or manufacturing departments.) Let’s examine these three employment opportunities in more detail.
The Cannabis Retail Environment
The most common cannabis job—and the one in the most demand—is the retail budtender. All retail stores have managers, and usually assistant managers and lead budtenders, but most of them started off as general budtenders.
These jobs not only require a thorough knowledge of cannabis, but motivation and energy as well. A job in cannabis retail can mean hard work and long hours. As one successful cannabis retail manager put it when discussing the heavy employee turnover in his store, “Forget about the cannabis aspect of it—this is retail!” The cannabis retail environment can be hectic and busy on most days, with lines of people waiting to be served—some of them with an “I know it all” attitude that doesn’t welcome friendly conversation and useful suggestions about available store inventory. You never know what to expect from a customer and have to adapt to the situation at hand with the same friendly customer-service demeanor. That said, for every rude customer there will be several who are genuinely curious about strains and products and who will appreciate your advice. As an advisor, building rapport with customers and becoming a trusted information source is important.
Study the store inventory so you can explain it to customers. Good budtenders will not only know the strains, but related products as well so they can cross-sell and up-sell. This role requires a thorough knowledge of all pipes, bongs, dab rigs, concentrates, strains, edibles, pre-rolls, topicals, seeds and clones (if the store sells them), as well as all ancillary products carrying the company’s brand.
The best budtenders are the ones who will become lead budtenders, assistant managers, and managers. It’s a progressive ladder to the top rung with no shortcuts. Most of those who have a manager job earned it through hard work.
Whether you work for a cultivation company or as part of the cultivation department for a large, vertically integrated cannabis company, the job is much the same. Cultivation work can include a lot of physical labor. Depending on the company’s cultivation method, entry-level cultivation employees may find themselves hauling soil or hauling and washing rocks for hydroponic use. General cleanup to ensure a tidy grow environment is an ongoing responsibility, as is lightbulb replacement, and plant relocation and evaluation. The tasks can be menial and exhausting, but these jobs involve a level of satisfaction when a new proprietary strain is introduced or a bountiful harvest occurs.
Once cultivation employees get their feet wet and demonstrate a level of commitment, other more specialized roles may become an option for you. Examples of these more specialized jobs include:
- Cloning. Working with clones is a necessary part of all cultivation operations to guarantee a regular harvest schedule and supply of cured flower for retail sale and the creation of concentrates. Working with clones involves taking cuttings from mother plants and starting them for internal use or outside sale.
- Harvesting. Becoming a harvest specialist is another role on cultivation teams. This position may cross over into other cultivation responsibilities, but there is a continuous need to monitor mature plants to ensure they’re harvested at their peak.
- Trimming. Trimming is part of the reality of growing cannabis. Since most companies engage in wet trimming, the trimming execution usually takes place in the cultivation department. Trimming requires a specialized skill, and some people are better at it than others. A thorough, tidy trim in the shortest amount of time is the goal.
- R&D and Breeding. Most cultivation companies strive to make a name for themselves by creating their own strains. This is one of the most important and specialized positions on cultivation teams. A comprehensive knowledge of botany and genetics is mandatory for success. Creating new strains from seed and cloning prime phenos or stabilizing a new strain for seed stock and sale are usually within the responsibilities of these departments.
MIP (Marijuana Infused Products) Jobs
The Marijuana Infused Products (MIP) facility of a cannabis company can include a variety of departments and product creation, including the cannabis oil used to create most of the other products. MIP facilities go through a tremendous amount of cannabis to make their products. Some companies include one or two departments and very few products, while MIP facilities create a wide assortment. Some companies specialize in just one facet of infused products, like edibles companies.
The wide assortment of MIP roles is usually quite specialized, with personnel executing the same job each day. Many MIP jobs combine both standard operating procedures and art. Those who produce marijuana concentrates and infused products honed their craft over time and are very good at it. For this reason, some MIP jobs pay quite well. The departments at a MIP facility may include:
- Concentrates (aka Extracts). Whether it’s producing hash, hash oil, rosin, shatter, wax, batter, or crumble, there’s an extraction method to produce it. Extraction can involve a wide range of solvents, depending on the method used, as well as solvent-less extraction products like bubble hash and rosin. Solvents may include CO2, butane, propane, or other harsh materials. Working with volatile materials like this can be dangerous, so any high-production facility must have safety measures in place—and must follow them closely—to ensure a safe workplace.
- Edibles. Edibles departments create a diverse assortment of popular products with a range of potencies, which often depends on the state and whether or not the products are intended for medical or recreational use. Nearly everyone loves sweets, so dessert items like cake, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes are some of the tasty items these departments bake each day. Candies like gummies, taffy, hard candies, chocolates, and caramels are in regular production as well. Drinks make up the balance of edibles products, with sodas, coffees, and infused energy drinks being some of the most common.
- Topicals. Topicals are gaining steady popularity for their healing and soothing properties. Sore muscles and joints benefit from these infused products and provide for people who want alternative to painkillers. Soothing lotions, balms, salves, and creams rubbed onto sensitive skin provide welcome relief. For a full-body experience, infused and scented soaps, bubble baths, and other bath additives like salts allow for complete submersion and relaxing stress and muscle relief. Topicals are quickly gaining recognition among cannabis consumers and expand their market share each year.
One of the positions outlined in this article might just be what you’ve been looking for as a viable career path. The cannabis industry is expanding every day, and continued rapid growth is inevitable. If you want to play a part in the fastest-growing industry in the country, give a long hard look at a cannabis job. While the work is no less demanding than that in other fields, the rewards can be great, with upward growth potential for those with gumption and drive. Taking the first step by earning certification with CTU will provide you with a distinct advantage over other job seekers. So, start planning now, and good luck with your future career!